Inform the Shaikh!

Someone once wrote to Hazrat Thanwi (RA) describing his condition in the following manner:

“Obscene thoughts dominate my heart and mind all the time. I do not hesitate to look lustfully at non-mahram women (those women with whom marriage is permissible).”

The principle is that when one develops a relationship with a shaikh, then the shaikh needs to be informed about each and every condition. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the shaikh to devise a proper course of action. Even if it is something shameful or embarrassing, then too, the shaikh must be informed. It is like a patient’s relationship with his doctor. One should not feel that the shaikh will think low of him or have a bad opinion regarding him. If someone conveys the worst kind of evil about himself to the shaikh, the shaikh will only have compassion for that person and will feel sorry for him. Like a parent with a disabled child. Other people will be repulsed by the disabled child, but the parent will have extra love for him and will also care more.

Sometimes, Ulamaa’ seem to doubt why the shaikh needs to be informed about sins when the hadeeth clearly prohibits us from disclosing our defects and sins to others. It is true that we should not mention such things to anyone other than Allah and pray to Allah to remove these evils from us.

Commenting on the idea presented in the hadeeth, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) said that this excludes one’s shaikh. It is like a patient who is permitted to expose his body to a doctor, but to no one else. If the patient conceals his body at this juncture, the doctor can not treat him.

Hazrat Thanwi (RA) replied to the person with the following words:

“This (lustfully gazing at women) is an evil that darkens the light (noor) of every form of worship. So, its treatment must be observed carefully. Obviously, the inclination is natural, so it is not in itself evil. Rather, there are many external reasons for it becoming an evil act. What is evil is to act on the urge and impulse. The urge is voluntary and is countered by that which is also voluntary. Thus, to shun the deed is also voluntary and there is no helplessness in that. Therefore, have courage and strength. This alone is the answer. There will be some difficulty in the beginning, but afterwards it will become second nature to look away and it will be comforting.”

Taken from Islahi Majaalis of Mufti Taqi Usmani

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2 Comments on “Inform the Shaikh!”

  1. Abu Yahya Says:

    Subhanallah… this clearly demonstrates the true and practical aspect of tasawwuf which is extremely rare, if not totally lost in our times.

    Unfortunately, because of the misrepresentation of ignorant people who are away from the sunnah and shariah, tasawwuf is seen to be a cult which emphasizes on singing, dancing, feeling “floaty”, “airy”, and ecstatic, when in reality it has absolutely nothing to do with that.

    The above quote of Hakimul Ummah, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah) clearly shows the reality of what true tasawwuf (the tasawwuf of the pious predecessors)is really about. It becomes clear when one attends their auspicous company and their works are studied that TASAWWUF is really about the love of Allah, rectification of character and the removal of evil qualities from the self.

    As far as “revealing” your sins to your Shaikh… there are many examples of this from the ahadith and lives of the sahabah.

    One example of this is a hadith narrated in Mishkat Shareef wherein Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu)was praying in his home when someone suddenly walked in on him. Abu Hurairah got this feeling of happiness in his heart that he was seen in worship.

    He quickly ran to the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)to inform him of his internal condition and whether this was right or not.

    The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) told him: “May Allah have mercy on you O Aba Hurairah! You have attained two rewards! The reward of praying in solitude and the reward of praying in the open.”

    And another Hadith can clarify this: “When your good deeds please you and when your evil deeds upset you, then know that you are a true believer…”

    Another example of “revealing” one’s sins to one’s Shaikh (for the sake of rectifying one’s condition)which is narrated in Sahih Muslim is the story of the sahabiyyah from the tribe of Juhainah who became pregnant from adultery and confessed to the Messenger saying, “I have become liable for punishment, so implement it upon me!”

    The third example is the famous incident of Hanzalah ibn Rabee al-Usaydi (radhiallahu anhu) who was one of the scribes of the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)and Abu Bakr(RADHIALLAHU ANHU)who complained of their internal condition to the Messenger saying they felt within themselves hypocrisy. (also narrated by Muslim)

    Allahu Akbar! These were our pious predecessors! Look at their example! Who at all times had their hearts open to be checked by their SHAIKH, the Shaikh of Shaikhs, Imamul-Muttaqeen and the leader of all prophets, Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) may our lives and existences be sacrificed for him!

    This is why they attained the ranks they did, may Allah Ta`ala be pleased with them and our mashaa’ikh who derived their teachings of spirituality from their lives and examples. (AMEEN)

  2. Huda Says:

    Jazaakum’Allahu Khayraan for such an excellent post. I needed to read this!


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